Infection dynamics of Theileria equi and Theileria haneyi, a newly discovered apicomplexan of the horse.


Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Washington State University, Pullman, WA, USA. Electronic address: [Email]


Theileria equi infection, exotic to the United States has reemerged through intravenous (iatrogenic) and tick-borne transmission. Surveillance at the US-Mexico border identified a new species, Theileria haneyi, (T. haneyiEP) (EP = Eagle Pass, Texas) which warranted additional investigation due to inability to detect by PCR targeting of T. equi ema-1 and EMA-1-cELISA validated for T. equi. Infection dynamics of T. haneyiEP were evaluated, including ability to superinfect in the presence of T. equi-Texas (T. equiTX), the isolate responsible for the reemergence of T. equi in the U S. Experimental infection with T. equiTX or T. haneyiEP revealed minimal clinical disease however, T. equiTX infection led to significantly greater neutropenia. Comparison of time to antibody detection following inoculation revealed significantly greater time to detectable anti-T. haneyiEP antibody (26.67 days post-inoculation (DPI)) than T. equiTX (11.67 DPI). Regardless of initial infection with either T. equiTX or T. haneyiEP, superinfection was established. Comparative analysis of antibody responses from a splenectomized horse infected with T. haneyiEP to that of a spleen intact horse infected with T. equiFL revealed a different antibody binding profile to T. haneyiEP, T. equiTX and T. equiFL merozoite antigen and limited shared antigen/cross-reactive antibody(s). Affinity purified T. equi EMA-1 and EMA-2 from T. equiFL were shown as targets for horse antibodies against T. haneyi. Data presented here show (1) T. haneyiEP can superinfect in the presence of T. equiTX infection and co-persists for minimally 25 months, (2) intravenous challenge with T. haneyi is subclinical, and (3) limited cross-reactive antibody between T. haneyiEP and T. equi includes reactivity to EMA-1 and EMA-2.


Apicomplexan,Equine theileriosis,Piroplasmosis,Superinfection,T. equi,T. haneyi,